• Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi looks to steady waka after challenging 12 months

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi looks to steady waka after challenging 12 months

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII) after unprecedented challenges in 2023 due to the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle and the closure of Takitimu Seafoods, says Executive Chair Bayden Barber.

Barber presented the iwi’s annual report at Splash Planet in Hastings today, announcing an unaudited before tax profit of $2,263,866, after a loss of $2,708, 514 in 2022 from a growing revenue stream from Ngāti Kahungunu business operations and its investment arm, Kahungunu Asset Holding Company Limited.

An interim dividend of $400,000 has been returned to the iwi.

The June 2023 financial result remains unaudited, due to finalising some details relating to property entity K3, which is expected to be finalised by early February.

Barber said although it was a tough decision to close Takitimu Seafoods and make 33 staff redundant, many of which are iwi members, it was the right call to make.

“We couldn’t risk putting good money into a bad situation. We had already tried that approach and it was time to call it a day for the future betterment of our iwi and members.

 “We now have a pathway forward to return to a healthy financial situation which can then support the delivery of social, cultural and wellbeing outcomes for iwi such as housing and meaningful education scholarships.

Barber said the cyclone in February had a devastating effect on many whānau and communities across the iwi’s rohe with loss to property along with significant damage to seven marae communities - Pōrangahau, Omāhu, Moteo, Waiohiki, Petāne, Tangoio and Takitimu.

Importantly Ngāti Kahungunu made a huge contribution to the response and recovery efforts post-Gabrielle standing up the Tihei Mauri Ora Welfare Hub that distributed essential supplies to impacted communities and iwi members along with supporting HB Emergency Management, PSGEs, Taiwhenua, Councils, and other community groups.

“The recovery and rebuild will continue for a long time and the iwi along with local hapū are focussed on ensuring our people can return to their homes, connect back to their marae and go about their lives.”

Despite the current financial challenges, Barber said he was proud of what Kaiwhakahaere Matua, Chrissie Hape and the team had achieved.

Highlights included delivering Te Ara Matua, Te Reo ki Tua, Matariki ki Kahungunu and the Kahungunu Fishhook Summit and Kahungunu Kainga.

Ngāti Kahungunu has made good progress on its housing programme Kahungunu Kainga, which initially aimed to provide 131 houses, a mix of Papakāinga and affordable rentals.

However, the immediate focus moved to providing cabins as temporary accommodation for those displaced following the cyclone. So far 81 cabins are in various stages including 13 being lived in and 18 on site awaiting final council sign off.

“We have continued to progress Kahungunu Kainga with 9 projects underway, 36 houses in various stages of completion, potential for a further 22 as well as proposals for up to 80 affordable rentals.”

He said the iwi is moving towards a post settlement era with Wairarapa Tāmakinui-a-Rua recently settling and now just the Ngāti Ruapani settlement to be completed with the iwi keen to progress a greater partnership with its Post Settlement Group Entities (PSGE’s).

“Earlier this year we held our first ever meeting between the NKII Board and chairs of the settled PSGEs and this provided an opportunity to discuss a more united journey for the benefit of all.

New Kahungunu Asset Holding Company Limited (KAHC) co-chair Mike Devonshire said 2023 had been tumultuous but it provided a platform to reset its investment portfolio for future growth.

He said the profit was largely attributed to the iwi’s fishing quota and shareholder dividends from entities that operate the quota, as well as carbon credits from Kahutia Limited and farming Tautane Station, a 3500 hectare sheep and beef operation near Herbertville.

“We have made some pretty tough calls in 2023, particularly the closure of Takitimu Seafoods.

“KAHC now has a new direction with some strong governance and commercial acumen and our kaupapa is to provide financial returns to Ngāti Kahungunu, which in turn enables the iwi to support the wellbeing of its people.”

Nagti Kahungunu also announced total group revenue of $28,153, 677 (up from $25,629, 989), expenses of $25,923,862 (down from $31,034,33) and group equity of $58,452, 445 (up from $53,688, 544.